Economist Thomas Piketty showed that a centrist Democrat will lose

Early in 2018, Thomas Piketty, author of the bestselling 2013 book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," wrote a detailed, fact-filled 160-page study that rejected everything that the Democratic Party establishment was telling us.

And it got completely ignored by the MSM, political pundits, and Democratic insiders.

Fortunately a writer at Slate noticed it.

The Republican Party has earned a reputation as the anti-science, anti-fact party — understandably, perhaps, given the GOP's policy of ignoring the evidence for global climate change and insisting on the efficacy of supply-side economics, despite all the research to the contrary. Yet ironically, it is now the Democratic Party that is wantonly ignoring mounds of social science data that suggests that promoting centrist candidates is a bad, losing strategy when it comes to winning elections. As the Democratic establishment and its pundit class starts to line up behind the centrist nominees for president — mainly, Joe Biden, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris — the party's head-in-the-sand attitude is especially troubling.
...First, the sheer amount of data analyzed in Piketty's paper is stunning. He and his researchers analyze voters in those three countries by income (broken into deciles), education, party, gender, religion and income disparity. The final 106 pages of the paper consist of graphs and charts. This is a seriously detailed data analysis that took years of work, and any intelligent political party operative should take it very seriously.

Much like his bestseller, Piketty absolutely buries you in data.
So what did he find? I'll quote directly from the study.

In the 1950s-1960s, the vote for “left-wing” (socialist-labour-democratic) parties was associated with lower education and lower income voters. This corresponds to what one might label a “class-based” party system: lower class voters from the different dimensions (lower education voters, lower income voters, etc.) tend to vote for the same party or coalition, while upper and middle class voters from the different dimensions tend to vote for the other party or coalition.
Since the 1970s-1980s, “left-wing” vote has gradually become associated with higher education voters, giving rise to what I propose to label a “multiple-elite” party system in the 2000s-2010s: high-education elites now vote for the “left”, while high-income/high-wealth elites still vote for the “right” (though less and less so).
I.e. the “left” has become the party of the intellectual elite (Brahmin left), while the “right” can be viewed as the party of the business elite (Merchant right).

If this sounds familiar, it's roughly what Thomas Frank has been saying for years (but without the hard data).
Neither party even pretends to represent the working class.

Selection_001_20.png

Two general lessons emerge from this research. First, with multi-dimensional inequality, multiple political equilibria and bifurcations can occur. Globalization and educational expansion have created new dimensions of inequality and conflict, leading to the weakening of previous class-based redistributive coalitions and the gradual development of new cleavages. Next, without a strong egalitarian-internationalist platform, it is difficult to unite low-education, low-income voters from all origins within the same coalition and to deliver a reduction in inequality.

I take that to mean a true progressive coalition requires strong universalistic policies (like Medicare For All). Incrementalism and Identity Politics will never unite the working class as a voting block, nor was it ever designed to.
Or to put it another way.

An "egalitarian-internationalist platform" means the kind of political platform that articulates a shared, global struggle among all of the poor and working-class people around the world — in other words, a class-conscience platform that recognizes that rich people are not on the same side as the rest of us, and have different interests and are eager to exploit us. And egalitarian means the opposite of nationalistic or xenophobic — united in a common class struggle, you might say, towards a mutual goal of universal civil rights.

In every election 40% of voters vote Republican and 40% vote Democrat.
The ruling elite compete for the remaining 20%, while ignoring the bigger picture:

Half of all eligible voters don't vote.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — e.g. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win back those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, e.g. many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing inbetween.

Piketty's paper is an inconvenient truth for the Democratic Party. The party's leaders see themselves as the left wing of capital — supporting social policies that liberal rich people can get behind, never daring to enact economic reforms that might step on rich donors' toes. Hence, the establishment seems intent on anointing the centrist Democrats of capital, who push liberal social policies and neoliberal economic policies.

Which is why Democrats are hyper-sensitive to racism and sexism, because it doesn't cost them a dime, but have no problems at all with classism.
It's perfectly OK to rob people of their livelihoods and dignity, as long as you do it in a non-racist, non-sexist way.
These wealthy, highly educated people will not even see the destitute homeless person that they step over while going to an anti-Trump rally to voice their moral outrage about his tweets.

Share
up
51 users have voted.

Comments

link

Similar as the Democratic factions may seem to the right, which seem unable to distinguish a liberal billionaire like Warren Buffett from a "communist," they represent radically different positions and have different constituencies. The Clintonite coalition tended to rely on pandering to identity groups and a sort of vague multiculturalism that posited that billionaires, corporations and the poor could live in some kind of perfect harmony, even though the former rely on the exploitation of the latter to exist.

Critics like Phillips argue that Clinton and her DNC lackeys failed to grasp that her milquetoast liberalism lacked a comprehensible ideology: There were no scapegoats, and "America was already great," in Clinton's words. Those words appeared tone-deaf to the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, who sought a scapegoat and heard a more sensible explanation for their woes from Donald Trump.

up
28 users have voted.

@gjohnsit
I can't swallow this sentence - "Those words appeared tone-deaf to the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, who sought a scapegoat and heard a more sensible explanation for their woes from Donald Trump."

I think great swaths of t_Rump's voters know he's a fucking idiot - I also think that, after decades of getting the shit kicked out of you by liars, they don't give a rat's ass - blow the whole thing up.

I'm 59, I've had about a decade in the top 20% of household income. After growing up on welfare, I had a few adult decades in the bottom 50, then 75%. The bottom feeders don't give a fuck - 100,000,000 didn't even bother voting.

rmm.

up
7 users have voted.

But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;

The Aspie Corner's picture

that the pigs would rather die and take everyone else with them than give up anything at all. Liberal billionaires are fine with Dipshit even if they don't say it out loud.

up
18 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

So pretty much our 2 party bipartisan liberal republicans and conservative republicans are giving lip service to the masses to stay in power. Along with the study that found no matter how questions polled to the general public, legislators respond to donors in crafting legislation. Also what Aspie said, liberal republicans benefit just as much from tax cuts and social program cuts the same as the conservatives. It's not their pain to feel. Pain is for little people.

up
18 users have voted.

@Snode @Snode
All are for criminalizing abortion, elimination of unions, elimination of welfare, privatizing all state assets (including roads), corporate welfare and guns for all (white people).

EDIT: forgot elimination of state income taxes by elimination of "waste and fraud"

up
9 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

...and uses hard data to support his ideas.

Chances are high that we'll have four more years of ole tiny hands...and rush toward human extinction in the process.

Rattner wrote in a commentary piece for The New York Times that there are three forecast models that have already picked Trump to win in 2020 even though he doesn’t have a direct competitor yet in the race.

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900072777/president-donald-trump-pre...

up
18 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
and also sick of everything being imported from China with their or the children's only job opportunities being in the transport or sale of Chinese goods or low level management of other workers in those areas. The more perceptive are aware of corporate plans by Bezos and Musk to automate even those drone jobs.

The middle isn't going to turn until the stock market crashes.

Conservative trickle down economics continues to exist only because (R)'s push the meme that "the only reason you don't have your share of the pie is because illegal Mexicans and lazy criminal blacks have stolen it from you." (Echo's of 1920's Germany). Often "Jewish bankers" are thrown in too, but because bankers support (R)'s it's convenient to just shorten it to "Jews". As pointed out by gjohnsit and Pikkety, the (D)'s can't respond except for anti-white rhetoric because they are competing for those same banker and corporate boardroom dollars.

Environmentalists jumped the shark when they shut down a major development because it endangered the Snail darter, an obscure fish whose existence no one cared about. "Save the whales", yes. "Save the Snail Darter" fell flat. The voting public sees a Leftist elite that cares for some stupid fish more than human beings.

up
8 users have voted.
boriscleto's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness You assure the extinction of the whale.

The public never really gave a shit about saving the whale anyway.

up
13 users have voted.

" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

@boriscleto
They are river fish with a very llimited range. Perhaps it would impact the local racoon and bird populations. More likely they would move or change their diet.
The environment can't be kept static. It's been constantly changing for billions of years. Most species that existed are dead including quite a few hominids. In fact, every hominid but one. Homo Sapiens must be endangered! Save the Humans!

up
5 users have voted.
boriscleto's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness For a short time anyway.

up
4 users have voted.

" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

In every election 40% of voters vote Republican and 40% vote Democrat.
The ruling elite compete for the remaining 20%, while ignoring the bigger picture:

Half of all eligible voters don't vote.

Stated another way.

50% of eligible voters don't (open question whether apathy or disgust or both)
20% vote (R) (open question how much is policy and how much tradition)
20% vote (D) (open question how much is policy and how much tradition)
The ruling elite compete for the remaining 10%

It seems to me that there is more to be gained from mobilizing the 50% than the 10%

up
17 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness

It seems to me that there is more to be gained from mobilizing the 50% than the 10%

Give people something to vote for and you will swamp that fickle 10%.

up
16 users have voted.
SnappleBC's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

This was during 2016 and the only thing on their minds was "get out the vote". The conversation went something like this:

Me: I heard a huge focus on getting out the vote and yet nothing whatsoever about policy or any of the major issues facing our society today. Who's vote are you seeking to get out?

Chair: The Democratic base of course!

Me: But presumably, the Democratic base will vote Democratic reliably. Isn't that why we call them "the base"? Besides, the size of the party has shrunk down to a postage stamp at about 28% of voters. Surely you will get a lot of those given Trump, right?

Chair: Democrats are fickle. We need to make sure every single Democrat gets out and votes?

Me: I still don't understand what you mean by "Democrats". Take me for instance. I've reliably voted Democratic up till 2012 and stand on solidly liberal positions. Do you think of ME as a "Democrat"?

Chair: Of course and I'm glad you came to our meeting. Every vote for Hillary is a vote to stop Trump.

Me: I'm afraid I'm not a Democrat. I'm an Independent. I'm a part of the FIFTY percent that both parties are utterly failing to address. I will not be voting for Hillary. I'll be voting for Stein this election and the same thing applies to pretty much all elections at all levels.

The conversation didn't go on much longer from there and I never did learn who the "Democratic base" was. But man oh man, were they ever gung-ho to get them out! I didn't return.

This, by the way, was at a Democrats abroad meeting in Canada... a group that went SOLIDLY Bernie in the primaries.

up
17 users have voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

snoopydawg's picture

@SnappleBC

Don't forget that we must unite the party because we have to defeat Trump! Thing is that the centrists are being very nasty towards the people who want what Bernie is offering. Very nasty. Some dude got very angry at the people who boo's both Pelosi and FrackenLooper. Nancy was diddling on about how even though Trump has caused a constitutional crisis she doesn't think it would be a good idea to impeach him. Shades of the Bush era..

Me: I still don't understand what you mean by "Democrats". Take me for instance. I've reliably voted Democratic up till 2012 and stand on solidly liberal positions. Do you think of ME as a "Democrat"?

Chair: Of course and I'm glad you came to our meeting. Every vote for Hillary is a vote to stop Trump.

People are holding on to their grudges against people who voted for Stein or didn't vote period. They seem to think that every person owed Herheinous their vote. Especially those who voted for Stein who they think cost Herheinous the election. Never mind that Johnson got more votes than Stein did. She bares the blame. And don't forget that it's important that you vote for whoever is nominated because the Supreme Court is in play as well as the federal courts. Even though many democrats have been voting to confirm Trump's picks. Shh..

up
10 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@The Voice In the Wilderness

up
4 users have voted.

But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;

I notice that there are essentially two periods that started this trend: the 60s through around 1975, and the early 90s (still going and even accelerating). The current one was led by France, followed by UK, with the US lagging (though part of that lag is likely due to Bill Clinton counting as the left wing).

The 60s could be due to the obvious social changes and some DFH punching. But I wonder how much of the current one can be credited to the fall of the Berlin wall - yay we won, this proves we dont need to care about the poor anymore.

up
12 users have voted.

@sny
That's what destroyed FDR's America

up
4 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness the corporate/libertarian right consciously, intelligently and relentlessly plotted to reclaim "their" country and world. Scaife, Coors, the Kochs and their partners and successors developed and implemented plans to take over the institutions of this country and the world. The left in general and most of the Democratic party were clueless as to what was going on. Many of the Democrats that were cognizant or semi-cognizant simply cashed in and played their part.

up
7 users have voted.

@Roy Blakeley
They knew they couldn't get Truman out until the Japanese surrendered.
They almost did it in 1948. They turned to Ike for electoral success, even though the convention was not a sure thing, Earl Warren, a closet Liberal Republican threw it to Ike and was rewarded with a SCOTUS seat. Then the Republicans had their own purge culminating in the Goldwater nomination when the hard right Goldwater wing defeated the liberal Rockefeller wing. You should know the Rockefeller wing, it is indistinguishable from the Clinton/Obama/Biden wing of the (D) party.

So what we have now, for all practical purposes is the 1960 Republican Party, fissioned into two Parties.

up
8 users have voted.
karl pearson's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness Ironically, LBJ was a New Deal Democrat, too.

up
3 users have voted.

@karl pearson
I really don't understand how he got sucked into VietNam. I think it was the CIA/Deep State plus militants left over from the Kennedy administration.

Everyone knows about the Cuban Missile Crisis. few know that it was precipitated by JFK placing IRBM's in Turkey that could reach Moscow. I'm definitely not a Communist apologist, but Khrushchev's choice was to retreat from a militant USA or counter by doing the same move by placing IRBM's in Cuba. I fault JFK on this one. It was reckless, like his defiance of general orders in shutting down the engines in PT-109. The admiral that wanted to court-martial him was right. If his father was not reach and politically connected, JFK would have been cashiered at the least. Likewise, I don't fault Iran if they react to Trump breaking the treaty, as long as they don't attack civilians.

up
6 users have voted.
karl pearson's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness I was not aware of some of this information. I think you're correct about how LBJ got involved in Vietnam. LBJ's goal was to be the best "domestic" president in history. I never thought he was interested in empire building. Following a popular president who was assassinated was a tough job for LBJ, especially when the media criticized him frequently for being "too common". The media preferred Martha's Vineyard and Harvard to the hill country of Texas and Southwest Texas Teachers' College.

up
5 users have voted.

@karl pearson Poor old LBJ didn't get "sucked" into VN by the DS or Kennedy holdovers. It was his own choice. Read the docs and listen to the tapes from that period -- Lyndon was clearly the one calling the shots, barking orders to McNamara and the Joint Chiefs. From his very first hours/days in office, he went about systematically reversing JFK's policy of withdrawal by '65 and explicitly told McNamara (tape from phone conversation Feb 24/25, 1964) he never did like Kennedy's policy, thought it made the US look weak with our allies.

As to JFK holdover advisers, fairly soon he eased out McGeorge Bundy, who by '66 had begun to have doubts about the war, which Lyndon didn't appreciate. He also may have subtly ousted McNamara (who never was sure if he was fired), who similarly had begun to express reservations by '67. Lyndon didn't want doubters in his camp, a sign of disloyalty, except for the one or two (like George Ball) who weren't high-ranking and who could be relied on to only offer muted criticism, or his VP Humphrey, anti-VN war since early '65, who was too big to fire, but who was soon put on a very short leash by Lyndon for his apostasy and who learned to toe the line.

LBJ's favorite Kennedy holdover was fervent VN War hawk SoS Dean Rusk, a Lyndon loyalist all the way to the end.

Why did he do it? 1) A way to niftily pay back his financial backers in TX -- Brown & Root brothers, some TX-based defense contractors like Bell Helicopters and General Dynamics, all of which entities became enormously rich as a result of their contracts in VN. 2) He was a crude, hardcore Cold Warrior who actually believed in the Domino Theory. 3) He didn't want to be the first president to lose a war. 4) He thought VN would help make him a sort of war hero, as JFK legitimately was in WW2 and he legitimately knew he was not (fake Silver Star for non-combat action).

up
6 users have voted.

@karl pearson

Although no one knows what was said between Kennedy and Khrushchev, the popular meme is that Khrushchev "backed down" and removed the missiles". Unremarked is that some months later, the Turkish missiles were also deactivated.

Looks to me like sanity broke out and a deal was agreed to.

up
4 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness those Jupiter missiles, outdated, slow and destabilizing, to be removed many months before the crisis. But his order was not carried out, and he only learned they were still there during the CMC.

And we do know much more about communications between Kennedy and Khr today compared to 40-50 yrs ago when the original stories were written from incomplete knowledge. JFK and Khr did indeed agree that in return for the USSR removing all offensive missiles, the US would pledge not to invade and also to remove the missiles from Turkey (it was agreed the latter move would be done quietly at an "appropriate decent interval" after the crisis was over, this arrangement to be kept secret between the parties until then -- a promise the Kennedy admin fulfilled).

Also we know more today about the extreme pressures Kennedy was under by his Joint Chiefs and CIA to bomb/invade Cuba. Bobby told a trusted Russian adviser to Khr (someone he knew would report back directly to the premier) that unless the missiles were withdrawn very soon, President Kennedy would be facing a revolt from the Pentagon, with a coup a real possibility. The Russian aide reported back to Khr, who was alarmed at this info and decided then and there to begin withdrawal. Far better to deal with a reasonable, level-headed man like Kennedy than a bunch of warmongering generals who've taken over the gov't and are itching to go to war with Russia.

up
4 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness
was a creature of the Eisenhower Administration. The agreement to base the missiles in Turkey was signed in October, 1959. The first missiles did not arrive in Turkey until after the inauguration, but Kennedy would have had to have pulled out of an agreement made by President/General Eisenhower.

Removal of the Jupiter missiles was a face-saving way out of the missile crisis. A more likely reason for the Russian decision to deploy is, while Khrushchev proclaimed to the world that missiles were rolling off assembly lines like sausages, American officials quietly told the Soviets the number they had. If the US knew the number they had it new where they were. They were very vulnerable to American attack. The Soviets were worried about an American first strike.

The Jupiters were obsolete. Whether Kennedy would have removed them without the agreement can be debated, but they were of very limited value.

up
3 users have voted.
EdMass's picture

incredibly in awe how you find out things like this.

Thank you

up
13 users have voted.

Help me Mr. Wizard!

Drizzle, Drazzle, Druzzle, Drome;
Time for this one to come home.

I am EdMass. I approve this message.

Stop the War!

@EdMass on his daily podcast a few days ago also discussed this interesting Piketty report.

up
5 users have voted.
k9disc's picture

Surprise, surprise, eh?

I thought it was a pretty amazing paper, and I easily understood the rather complex looking equations because of my familiarity with the variables. Lots of interesting "surprises" in working out the math though.

The blocs outlined sure are interesting as well. Piketty certainly does get right down to the details.

up
5 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

You need to crush the Dem party and fill the void with a labor party.

up
3 users have voted.